Sophie Hannah - Kind of Cruel (3 stars)

The seventh Zailer and Waterhouse murder mystery zips along but falters at the end

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Sophie Hannah - Kind of Cruel

(Hodder & Stoughton)

Kind of Cruel is Sophie Hannah’s seventh release to feature police duo and dysfunctional couple DS Charlie Zailer and DC Simon Waterhouse, recently brought to life on ITV by Olivia Williams and Darren Boyd. This taut, nightmarish family drama and murder mystery has a similar televisual feel but, despite some expertly drawn characters, is let down by a faltering ending.

In a bid to cure her insomnia, local council official Amber Hewerdine reluctantly consults a hypno-therapist but the memories she reveals make her a suspect in the murder of a woman she has never met in a case being investigated by DC Waterhouse. Throughout Kind of Cruel, Hannah cements her reputation as one of the UK’s leading authors of psychological thrillers, through skilled writing and a sharp eye for the unpleasant side of family relationships. But her eagerness to tie up loose ends in the final chapters gives the novel a dubious conclusion that it doesn’t deserve. Still, fast-paced prose makes this a suspense-filled page-turner with a vividly unsettling atmosphere.

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